Mango Hot Pickle, Gupta Family Style
Aam Ka Khatta Aachar
Late Suresh Chandra Gupta
This is the most popular pickle eaten in most North Indian homes all the year round. It is also known as 'phar ka achaar', 'phar' being mango slices cut through the stone. In our house, my father made most of the pickles, chutneys and jams. This recipe is from his old, handwritten pickling diary. It is quite easy to make - Mamta.
1 kg. green, mature but unripe pickling mangoes
250 ml. mustard oil*
125 gm. salt
2 tsp. turmeric powder
50 gm. whole fenugreek (methi) seeds
15 gm. nigella seeds/kalonji/kalaunji (nigella sativa)
25-30 gm. chilli powder
30 gm. black peppers, coarsely ground
30 gm. fennel seeds (sonf)
Wash mangoes and wipe dry with a cloth.
Cut and discard the stalks and tops off each mango, removing the sap. Mango sap can be irritating to the skin.
Cut mangoes, with skin intact and through the stones if possible, into 1-2 inch pieces. You may need an Axe or a very sharp chopper for this. An electric knife may work.
Discard the bitter kernel inside the stones. A sharp, meat cleaver type of knife is good for this. Some Indian grocery/vegetable stores will cut mangoes for you.
Spread cut mangoes on a towel or newspaper and allow to dry in the sun for a few hours/a day.
*Heat mustard oil in a pan, until it smokes. Smoking is accelerated by addition of a little salt while heating. Allow it to cool.
Place mangoes with all ingredients, including oil, in a large bowl. Mix well.
Fill in glass jars, which have been previously sterilised in boiling water and dried in the sun or cleaned in a dish washer.
Keep the filled jars in hot sun/window-sill for a couple of weeks.
The pickle takes 2-3 weeks to be ready to eat and will last for a couple of years without refrigeration.
It is important to prevent contact with water while making the pickle or during use (always use dry spoon or fork to serve). This prevents the pickle from moulding.
Kalonji can be spelled as Kalowunji on some packets.
A pinch of Sodium Benzoate added to pickles, acts as preservative and helps to keep them for longer without getting spoiled.
Also see Pickle and Chutney Selection.